Consequent to the signing of the ‘Joint Guidance for the India – Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’ document by the Chiefs of the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 18 August 2021, the ‘Terms of Reference for the Conduct of Navy-to-Navy Talks between the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy’ was signed on 29 September 2021. The signing ceremony was held virtually between Rear Admiral Jaswinder Singh, ACNS (FCI), IN, and Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, DCNS, RAN.
The ‘Joint Guidance’ document sets forth the Navy to Navy (N2N) Talks as the ‘Principal’ medium for guiding the bilateral relationship. The bilateral defence relations between India and Australia have strengthened over the years. ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, the conduct of trilateral Maritime Security Workshop, and RAN participation in Exercise MALABAR are significant milestones that underline the role played by both Navies in bolstering this relationship in recent times. The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo – Pacific region.
The inaugural Navy-to-Navy Talk with Australia was held in 2005. Since then, the two nations and the Navies have continued to grow closer at all levels. With over a decade of bilateral talks, they remain more committed than ever to strengthening and deepening this meaningful Navy-to-Navy relationship.
The document underpins the broad objective of more profound mutual understanding, trust and transparency, improved goodwill and understanding of each other’s concerns and future directions. It provides detailed guidance for the conduct of IN – RAN N2N Talks. It also provides flexibility for the implementation of separate agreements based on the specific outcomes of the Talks.